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Letter: Caring for our brains

I am tired of hearing and seeing the term “mental illness.”

Might not some of the our problem with seeking help for anxiety or depression be caused by the outdated term, “mental “illness” we continue to use? We should no longer be separating the “mental” aspects of our physiology from the physical ... that medieval view has been banished by our knowledge of neuroscience.

Our minds are chemical secretions and electrical interactions taking place in the BRAIN, a wondrous and complex organ, it is true, but no different in its origin than any other organ or structure in our bodies. We need to free ourselves from believing so-called mental health is derived from some mysterious source or yields behaviors and feelings that are any more shameful than hypertension or a kidney infection. The brain is subject to disorders like any other part of our physical body. Moreover, its physical afflictions are very often completely amenable to treatment as our hearts are when we suffer hypertension or our lungs are when they become infected by bacteria or viruses.

Might not the fear and shame of seeking treatment for a “mental” ailment dissolve when we realize that it is an immensely complex physical organ, the brain, for which we are seeking attention and assistance? Most of us, at some point in our lives, will benefit if we feel free to do so.

The medical-industrial complex, of course, must also embrace this reality if progress in the care of our brains is to be made!

MARGOT FLECK

Northfield

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